Sunday, 28 August 2011

SO APPARENTLY I'M A ZONE LEADER - 25TH AUGUST 2011

Hola familia!
 
It's good to hear from everyone. That's awesome that PJ got his mission call I'm really excited for him. That's crazy that he doesn't leave til January, but I guess it's only 4 and a half months so that's not too bad. I got that package from Mum. Thanks so much it was awesome!! I loved all the letters in it too. I'm glad to hear things are going well at the cabin. That's too bad a bout work being so busy Dad. Hopefully you'll be able to find some more drivers soon. Good to hear that Mike's doing well on the job too. Thanks for those addresses this morning Dad I got them. If you could try and get the last one it would be great. I've got a letter written up all ready to send.
 
First off, I figured out my missionary mall stuff. I know Mum was getting worried about it haha. I sent the coat back and told them I wanted to return it but they sent me a new kind instead with longer sleeves. It's really nice. I think I might keep it and send Dad's one back cause this one has a warm inner linner and a waterproof outside and I can wear either one. Also I got the suit trousers that I needed. That's all taken care of. Also, how many pairs of socks did I buy there? I thought I had 10 but I only have 8 right now... Could you check for me? Also can machine dry my slacks or do I have to hang dry them? I don't remember what they said at Missionary Mall.
 
So we figured Elder Hague was going to be released as District Leader on Sunday because they switch it up every month, and we knew the previous Zone Leaders were leaving in about a week, so we were worried that we were gonna be called. As we walked into the cafeteria on Sunday morning for breakfast, the Zone Leaders grabbed us and asked us to follow them. Elder Hague and I kinda looked at each other funny cause we knew what it was. Then we met with the Branch Presidency who told us we're going to be the new Zone Leaders of our branch after the old ones leave. This week were are in training so we went to a bunch of meetings with the regular Zone Leaders on Sunday and welcomed a new district last night. It's busier but it's good cause it's given me a desire to be a better example and to be more exactly obedient.
 
My Spanish is coming along lots better! We try to speak only Spanish sometimes but it's tough because speaking and translating Spanish in your head is really tiring somehow. My brain feels like mush after an intensely Spanish day. I know it's good though so I'm trying to do better. When I do speak Spanish, I speak only Spanish. I'm starting to use the different conjugations better especially when teaching and I'm starting to use pronouns more too. There are still more verb tenses that are really hard that I'm trying to work in like something called the Subjunctive. We learned a tiny bit about it in high school but basically we use it when expressing judgement, doubt, or uncertainty or something like that. It's really hard to know when to use it, cause it's difficult to describe the situations when you would. It's coming though. My roommate Elder Carlson, the new District Leader, is really good at Spanish cause he's been taking it since grade 2 I think so he's really good at helping me. I memorized the Articles of Faith in Spanish in 2 days this week, so I'm pretty happy about that. Now i know them, D&C 4, baptismal invitation and the First Vision in Spanish.
 
Elder Hague and I are getting way more flexible when we teach. We used to struggle if we had to vary from the lesson plan because we didn't know what scriptures to use and our language was way more limited, but now we can handle some curve balls way better. It's awesome. I always wondered how missionaries would handle super hard situations but I've noticed I've been able to remember scriptures way more easily, and I've learned that it's important to focus on the fact that the people need to find out for themselves. We need scriptures to explain why we need things or to show how what we're saying comes from God, but it still basically boils down to them getting their own testimony. Also, I'm getting better at showing some emotion when I teach. Before, teaching missionary lessons was kind of alien in a sit-down 2-on-1 setting especially when teaching Spanish, but I'm getting better at identifying the person's needs and trying to address them. I can't wait to get to Chile and teach real people.
 
I know the church is true and that it brings us happiness. The Book of Mormon is true and can bring us happiness. Jesus Christ lives and is my Saviour. I know that the Lord is preparing me now for the work I have to do in Chile, and I'm excited for it. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that Thomas S. Monson is our prophet today. I know that God answers our prayers and that He loves us. He wants what's best for us, and I know that if we obey Him we will have more happiness, because that's what happens to me.
 
Anyway, I'm running out of time as usual. Thanks for the letters and keep writing!! I really wish I had more time to sit down and write everyone individual letters but it's super tough. I love you all and pray for you everyday!
 
Adios!
 
Elder Blomfield

18 AUGUST 2011

Thanks Dad for checking if PJ's got his call het. He better write me or he's dead haha. I've seen a bunch of friends here which is sweet. Too many to write out. I recently got an update from my friend Stephen Merrill who broke his neck, and basically he is getting some feeling and spatial recognition back. His shoulders and arms are getting stronger, and he's getting better at sitting up. It's pretty crazy but he seems pretty positive.
 
It was good to hear about how things are at work! Good job Mike on answering everyone's questions. I can't wait to get into the field and do that full time. That's awesome about JoJo's family wanting to get baptized in December. Hearing that makes me so excited and I haven't even got in the field yet! That's too bad that you had all those problems with the plumbing at the cabin, but at least the leaky tub is fixed now! That's sweet about the boat being left down at the cabin too. It'll be nice to always have such an empty garage.
 
My Spanish is coming, I try to practice as much as I can outside of class, and my understanding of the grammar is getting way better. It's still hard to try and incorporate what you know into speech, especially when the person you're speaking to speaks a million words a minute. Elder Hague and I are getting a lot better and give and take during the lessons that we teach, but the more I'm here, the more I realize how much more I need to learn. I have SO much ground to cover in Spanish, which being in the field will probably help with, and now when I teach I realize how hard some situations are to deal with, and how much more I have to learn about teaching.
 
We had an awesome Fireside on Sunday talking about what being successful is. The speaker described it as 2 things: 1)  Bringing people unto Christ by baptizing and confirming them, and helping them be active members, 2) The Lord being pleased with your efforts. He described that we can't have one without the other. If we aren't at least focused on baptizing and confirming people like we are called to do, then the Lord won't be pleased with us. Even if we don't baptize a lot of people, we still need to have that as our goal. He also talked about how we can't beat ourselves up for when people reject us, even after they've been committed to be baptized. He said that we need to understand that they have their agency as well, and that it isn't necessarily a reflection on us. In the Book of Mormon Aaron didn't have as many converts as Ammon because it was "his lot to have preached among the more hard part of the people" (Dunno if that's exactly what it says but close enough) but Ammon gets a lot of the praise cause the people he taught used their agency and chose to change. I thought it was a cool talk.
 
We have this hilarious Brazilian in my district named Elder Carters Paschaolini. His English is hilarious. He told us a story in English about when he was mad at his sister and told us he was shouting at her, "I'm going to take your neck off and do many other things that you don't like!!" We all died laughing. Also, Elder Cowger, one of my roommates, tried to convince people that he had a tattoo on his butt, when in reality he was just messing with them and would moon them. We tried to get Elder Paschoalini to look and he said, "No! You are trying to make me look at the pompís (Spanish for butt) of other men!! You are the mariposas! (Slang in some South American countries for homos, literally translates to butterflies) I almost wet myself from laughing. I love my district.
 
I'm gonna get some pictures printed off this week and send them, or maybe I'll send down an SD card since I have 2. That might be a good plan, if I send one back with pictures for you to have, and when you send it back I can send my other one with more pictures. That sounds like a good plan to me. Sorry I haven't sent any yet, I'm gonna try and take some good ones.
 
Anyway, I hope all is well!! Write me soon! I love you all, and I know the church is true. The Book of Mormon is the word of God, and we can be happy through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus is my Saviour and I know that He lives. I know God loves me and I know this is His work. I'm so happy to be here.
 
Love you all!!
 
Elder Blomfield
 

TRES SEMANAS - 11 AUGUST 2011

Hola everyone!
 
Thank you for the letters and for the package Mum and Dad! I got it yesterday. The chocolate's sooo good. My roommates don't appreciate it as much as I do because they're silly Americans, but I love it. And after lots of pestering they let me put up the Canadian flag. I hang it proudly.  Also thanks to Sally and Simeon for sending me a birthday card and a package too!! I looove chocolate! I forgot to say thanks for the letter Joseph and Jenny sent me a while ago too. Thanks!! Getting mail is seriously the best thing ever.
 
You may think I didn't wish Mum happy birthday, but I did! I didn't wanna just send a lame email, but I realized I didn't know the address for the cabin at Idaho. When I got my package yesterday I got the address and I sent my letter this morning. Hopefully it gets there soon. I hope your birthday was awesome Mum! I'm glad to hear all is well at the cabin and I hope you're having fun!
 
Good to hear about Michael's EFY experience! ¿Había muchas chicas bonitas? ¡Qué bueno! Do you like my Spanish skills? Don't be too impressed, I really don't know anything. The more I learn, the more I realize how much more I have to learn! The language seems so daunting right now, but I know I'll be fine eventually. I can write Spanish pretty well, it's just thinking of the right verb, right tense, and right conjugation on the fly that's really hard. I just need to practice more.
 
I really love personal study time. I also kinda like getting up early! It seems crazy, but I can legitimately see myself getting up early everyday after my mission. Maybe not quite as early as 6:30, but I have so much more of the day.
 
On Tuesday, Cecil O. Samuelson came to speak with us. He's the president of BYU by the way. It was awesome. He talked about making sure we are always behaving like representatives of the Lord which I thought was really important. It's weird to see people leave the MTC! We had some friends outside the district who left, and Elder Russell in our district left early. He was a marine, and tried to come once but got deployed to Iraq. He came after that but something felt weird and he talked to the leaders about it the brethren told him it wasn't his time to be in the field yet so left the MTC, and stayed in the MTC for only 2 and a half weeks before leaving to Nicaragua. I'm guessing there must be some reason that he needs to be there right now. He was super intimidated cause he realized how little of the language he knew, but the MTC people told him he spoke better Spanish than most of the beginner missionaries they send out. That gives me hope, seeing as I have 6 weeks left and my Spanish might already be comparable to some of the leaving beginners. Some of the missionaries in my district are awesome at Spanish though, so then I realize how terrible I am haha. I'm sure I'll be fine. It's sad though cause another Elder in our district, Elder Marcum is moving to a beginner Spanish district cause he doesn't know a lot of the basics. It'll be good for him but it still sucks. Elder Berdichevski-Poroi from Tahiti is going to Montreal, Spanish speaking, and is probably leaving early too. He's already been here for 9 weeks more than us because he was in beginner but busted his knee so stayed and moved up to intermediate.
 
I talked about this in my letter to Mum, but we are trying a new curriculum where volunteers come in and don't act like investigators like they used to, but we just teach them as they are. We work with our teachers as progressing investigators. Hermana Esplid is a woman named Natalia living in Santiago, Chile, and we just found out that her husband cheated on her. It's hard to address a problem like that in English, but it's super hard when instead of focusing on the message I'm trying to get across, I have to focus on the words that I can use to get my message across with my limited Spanish. It's hard but it helps us learn a lot. The MTC is focussing on training us to teach people not lessons now which is great. I'm so excited to get out into the field!!
 
Do you think you could get on my facebook and ask P.J. Quinn if he's gotten his mission call yet?? I'm really curious. It's super cool seeing a bunch of the people I know from BYU here. It's weird calling them Elder and not by their first name!
 
Anyway, I love you all! Being a missionary is awesome. I can't wait to go to Chile and start teaching!! I'm glad I'm not going yet though, cause the language would destroy me if I did.
 
Love you all!!!!!
 
Elder Blomfield

LA SEGUNDA SEMANA - 4 AUGUST 2011

Hola everyone!
It's so awesome to get you're letters, they make my day everytime. I hope everything's still good at home, and I hope Michael has a good time at EFY and the family has fun at the cabin. Sorry Dad but I dunno how fun work can be haha. It's good to hear that David's back and doing well! Tell him hi for me. It's crazy that it's already been two years. I bet it'll be exactly the same for me though. People always say that the days go by really slowly but the weeks fly by. It's so true!! Everyday seems to take forever but I've already been here for 2 weeks I can't believe it!! It's cool cause I'm learning so much. Elder Hague and I have taught a few lessons in Spanish and we're getting tons better. It's cool cause I always find it ten times easier to speak Spanish when I'm teaching than when I'm talking to people or whatever. It has to be the Spirit. I love it at the MTC! A lot of people hate it cause we have basically no freedom, but I'm trying to keep a positive attitude. I'm learning so much and I always look forward to my study time. My scriptures are getting nice and marked up. It was tough to study the first week cause we would all be laughing and goofing around in our district but we're loads better now.
It's cool how much my testimony and faith has grown since I've been here. I never truly realized how important the Book of Mormon was in missionarywork, since I've mostly only used it to read myself, but one of the Apostles said it's the most powerful converting tool. It connects everything else in our religion, and it's true!! We're also taught to teach about families a lot because everyone has a natural tendency to care about families, even if theirs is broken or whatever. We're also taught to tie everything we teach initially when answering questions back to the Restoration. (I almost just wrote restauración instead). We're taught about the restoration, Book of Mormon, eternal families, prophets, that we are God's literal spirit children, and that He loves us our whole lives, but those things are really pretty new to a lot of people. They don't realize how much God cares for them and from my experience "fake" teaching that's been a really important thing to address. He is our literal "Padre Celestial." I love Spanglish.
One thing that I've been taught is that we shouldn't go too crazy about learning the language. It still seems like such a huge task even though I'm making good progress. When my teachers speak how fast they actually can it's pretty crazy. Then those Chilenos drop s's all over the place and speak the fastest Spanish ever. There are a few Chilenos that I've met here that we play fútbol with at gym time, and when they speak fast it's insane. It's gonna kill me. I've heard good things about Chile though. Apparently in Concepción it's really green all the time which is gonna be super cool considering how ungreen it is most of the time in Calgary. And the food is apparently really really good. I'm super stoked.
On Tuesday, Gerald N. Lund came and spoke to us! It was really cool. He spoke about how we need to exercise faith and learn by faith. I've noticed how much more I've come to see how important my testimony is as a missionary, and I haven't even taught someone real yet. Sometimes when I teach I think of all the evidence I could give as to why the church is true, or to why Joseph Smith wasn't a fraud, but that's not what does the converting. One quote I heard is "A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still." It doesn't matter whether there's physical evidence that the church is true, because that isn't where a testimony comes from. We know the church is true because we exercise faith in God, and learn through the Spirit that it is true. I'm starting to realize how important bearing my testimony is when teaching, because that touches people really well. Another thing is that we don't have to answer every question. Sometimes someone will ask us something that we don't know how to answer, but just because we can't answer it, it doesn't mean the church isn't true. Again, the best thing is to ask them to read the Book of Mormon and pray to find out if it is true for themselves.
Something I forgot to tell everyone is that Elder Hague was assigned as our District Leader! He gets everyone's mail and conducts district meetings and goes to leadership meetings and stuff. It's pretty sweet, cause I'm the first to know if I get mail. His friend was telling us about how in his district the district leader's companion is on a power trip. We thought that was hilarious! I've tried to go on a power trip a couple times but I don't actually have any power to trip on. It's pretty awesome.
I got that birthday package sorry I forgot to mention it it's so tough to remember everything that I wanna write about! Thank you very much those cookies were delicious, and the little card inside was awesome too.
Anyway, thanks so much for everything!! I love you all!!
Adios
Elder Blomfield